The ambitious National Population Register (NPR) that will have biometric details of a billion people will cost Rs 6,650 crore, nearly twice the initial estimate.
A panel of secretaries recently cleared the enhanced budget to create the digital database, billed the world’s largest and most sophisticated register of a country’s population. The proposal would be put before the Union cabinet for approval in a month.
The cabinet had last March cleared Rs 3,539 crore for the NPR but this only covered costs for taking fingerprints and a photograph of nearly 85 crore people older than 15 years.
A cabinet committee later accepted the proposal pushed by the Nandan Nilekani-led Unique Identification Authority of India to take an image of the iris as well. The three details — iris, photograph and ten fingerprints —would ensure that UIDAI did not trip on its mandate to ensure uniqueness across a large population.
Nilekani also convinced the government to let him issue a unique number to people over five years old — rather than 15 years earlier — increasing the number of people entitled to have their biometric details taken to over a billion people.
The move forced the home ministry to include these decisions into the NPR — mother database for issuing unique number. The ministry expect to start collecting the three biometric details by April.“As and when a district completes this process, the local register of usual citizens would be printed and put out in public domain for people to get corrections made,” a senior ministry official said.